News & Events

ARTICLE: Decoding Muqtada al-Sadr’s Gulf visits

By Zaid Al-Ali,  August 22, 2017

ALJAZEERA ENGLISH: Muqtada al-Sadr is the scion of one of Iraq’s most important families of Shia clerics, which has traditionally been associated with the country’s poor underclass. Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Sadrist movement took up arms against the occupation and quickly spiralled out of control. Members of his Mehdi Army were widely accused of engaging in extortion, kidnappings, and murder. Most famously perhaps, Sadr followers are said to have killed Sayed Abdul Majid al-Khoei, the son of another of Iraq’s most prominent Shia authorities, just as he returned to Iraq following more than a decade in exile.

 But since then, Sadr is a changed man. He formally dissolved his Mahdi Army in 2008, has moderated his discourse and has focused much of his attention on government corruption and on failing public services. He has grown extremely critical of Iraq’s former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who he has (rightly) held responsible for the Iraqi army’s rout against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in 2014. In the war against ISIL, his paramilitary group Saraya al-Salam has mainly kept away from the front lines and has not been accused of any major abuses (contrary to many other regular and irregular military units).

Read more

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *